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- The D23 Expo brought us a lot of updates that will be heading to the Walt Disney World resort over the coming months and years. Let’s dive into each one.
- A new, 14-acre Star Wars-themed land will be headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios that will transport Guests to a never-before-seen planet. There will be two signature attractions–a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts Guests in the middle of a climactic battle. The land will include a cantina and the stores will be operated by local inhabitants.
- In the intirim, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Also, the Jedi Training Academy will be re-imagined and include new characters from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.” Guests will be able to experience the Star Wars Launch Bay which will be found in the Animation Courtyard and will take Guests into the upcoming film with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings. Finally, the park will offer the Season of the Force beginning in early 2016. This will be a new seasonal event that will give Guests the opportunity to close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies. There will be advanced character experiences; limited time food, drink, and merchandise opportunities; and more.
- Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land will make its way into the park. This 11-acre area will take guests into the world of a toy through Andy’s backyard and will include a family-friendly roller coaster where guests ride on the back of Slinky Dog as you glide past some of Andy’s toys and an alien saucers attraction that will see music, lighting sound effects, and yes, The Claw will loom over you. These will all be in addition to the previously announced third track for Toy Story Mania.
- We officially know the name of Avatarland at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will be called Pandora – The World of AVATAR. The big E-ticket attraction centerpiece that will allow guests to soar on the winged Banshee over the vast alien world will be called AVATAR Flight of Passage. Pandora – The World of AVATAR is expected to open sometime in 2017.
- More details were released about the upcoming nighttime show, Rivers of Light. It is slated to to be a ceremonial event that happens nightly on the water and it takes the idea of the very special nature of animals that are found in the park and turns it into a celebration of light itself. The show will utilize a combination of light, fire, water, and live performers to create a rich experience. Rivers of Light is expected to open in the spring of 2016.
- The nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris will include two new animal species, African wild dogs and hyenas. Th updated version is also expected to debut next spring.
- At Epcot, Guests will be able to experience Soarin’ Around the World beginning in 2016. The attraction will take Guests on a journey to far-flung lands, where they will fly above some of the most unique natural landscapes and soar over man-made wonders.
- Finally, at the Magic Kingdom, a new restaurant will be introduced in Adventureland. The Jungle Skipper Canteen is expected to be a table service restaurant with skippers serving up extra helpings of humor, along with lunch and dinner inspired by the flavors of Africa, Asia and South America. Rooms will be highly themed including a crew mess hall or a once hidden, secret meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.
- Over at Downtown Disney’s West Side, the Superstar Catering food truck debuts a new menu giving Guests a different taste of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. New selections include:
- Mushroom Flatbread with a garlic spread and balsamic mushrooms
- Salmon B.L.T with chili lime mayonnaise and house made chips
- Dueling Sliders with BBQ beef brisket and pulled chicken with house made chips
- Shrimp and Lobster Macaroni and Cheese with a gouda lobster bisque sauce
- From August 23 to September 6, Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be closed for refurbishment. During this time, Beaches Pool Bar and Grill will be open for breakfast, and there will be grab ‘n go food options in Mizner’s Lounge.
- Guests can now download the Shop Disney Parks app (and watch your money spend even faster!) The app is free and will allow guests to find, buy, and ship merchandise sold at the Walt Disney World Resort. As of right now, only a ship to home option is available, but it is expected that soon there will be a package pick up option at both the front of the park and at the Disney resorts.